The emergency order is intended to increase hospital capacity in New York and will last until at least Jan. 15, when it will be reassessed.
According to a copy of the order, the state will utilize the “surge and flex system,” which allows the Department of Health to limit non-essential and non-urgent hospital procedures in situations where a hospital has less than 10% staffed bed capacity.
The new hospital procedures will take effect Dec. 3.
Gov. Hochul said while the omicron variant hasn’t been detected in New York state, preparations need to be made, adding that the state is seeing “warning signs” of a potential spike in cases.
“We’ve taken extraordinary action to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and combat this pandemic. However, we continue to see warning signs of spikes this upcoming winter, and while the new Omicron variant has yet to be detected in New York State, it’s coming,” Gov. Hochul said in a press release.
“In preparation, I am announcing urgent steps today to expand hospital capacity and help ensure our hospital systems can tackle any challenges posed by the pandemic as we head into the winter months,” Hochul added. “The vaccine remains one of our greatest weapons in fighting the pandemic, and I encourage every New Yorker to get vaccinated, and get the booster if you’re fully vaccinated.”
The move comes after President Biden announced a restriction on travel from South Africa and seven other countries in the region beginning Monday.
The World Health Organization announced Friday that the omicron variant has a “large number of mutations … some of which are concerning.”
The variant has been detected in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi.
Story continues at: Omnicron Variant